CALVERT, Ala. (WKRG) — AM/NS, a steel processing plant in Calvert, Ala., works hard to go above and beyond to give back to the environment. The plant is recognized by the Wildlife Habitat Council for reaching their gold standard of environmental stewardship in under three years, a process that normally takes at least four years.

AM/NS sits on approximately 1,000 acres of undeveloped forest and wetlands. Since 2019, their employees spearhead several projects that help them achieve this gold standard.

“It’s the very best level that you can get within the organization that recognizes multiple projects that you have done,” says Robert Pinckard, Environmental Team Manager at AM/NS Calvert.

They have several projects ongoing including duck boxes, two pollinator gardens, an osprey platform, bat boxes, timber conservation and invasive species management. We took a look at some of them.

Since that plant has wetlands, the environmental engineers at AM/NS partner with Citronelle High School’s Agriculture class to help build the boxes to give the ducks and their eggs a safe home. 

“I know we have some times where we make odd and end projects for ourselves and we really don’t know what to do with it. With this, we have a set goal and it really helps us to get things done,” explains Garrett Sullivan, a student at Citronelle High School.

In exchange, AM/NS employees visit the school and teach the students why environment and habitat conservation are so important. They also invest in the students by giving them employment opportunities after graduation.

“It is not like they are just there to make and sell steel. They actually care about the environment, and they are putting a lot of time back into it. And teaching the kids about it,” states Ryan Crews, the agriculture teacher at Citronelle High School.

Another successful initiative is the pollinator garden. The pollinator garden is replanted every single year by volunteers and employees. They use local plants of all different shapes and sizes to attract local pollinators, from caterpillars to butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Those help pollinate the rest of the surrounding areas and really help the environment as a whole. 

The bat boxes and osprey platform were built and installed on the property, but these take a couple of years to really get established. Employees are currently evaluation if the locations of the boxes and platform should be changed.

Since the land had a lot of timber, tree conservation is important.

“We have a large amount of timber stands onsite….so we do our best to kind of manage the health of those and keep an eye out for any health hazards that could be there,” says Olivia Hernaez, Environmental Engineer at AM/NS Calvert.

Oliva says they also manage invasive species such as cogan grass and popcorn trees.

Their goal with these projects and several others is to not just use the land for their benefit, but to give back and continue to Grow the Gulf Coast.